Brave New World \ 1984 Essay, Research Paper
Undoubtedly, the thought of living in, or forming a utopian society has flashed through every person?s mind, a few people have even tried to make this ideal dream society a reality. Unfortunately, within the pursuit of these societies the leaders become corrupt and begin to become paranoid with the fear of rebellion. Hundreds were murdered under the reigns of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin in what they considered measures to maintain peace and stability, one must also consider the hardships that the citizens were forced to endure while living under these oppressive governments. This dream of forming and maintaining a utopian society was immortalized in two novels dealing with the same basic ideas, 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Both of these novels deal with the lives of main characters who inadvertently become subversives in a totalitarian government, however these two books greatly differ with the manner in which the government controls the population and the strictness of the measures taken to maintain these stability. This essay with compare or contrast the message and tone of each novel as well as whether the utopia is a positive or negative one.
In 1984, George Orwell explores the many facets of a negative utopia. Orwell seems to focus on the measures that the government takes to maintain a public of plebeians who have no personality or identity and believe that they not unique individuals, but instead are part of a greater senseless mob of people who constantly work for a hostile and oppressive government which is involved in incessant wars. These people are taught to love, and then learn fear, their government while believing all of the propaganda that is constantly instilled into their minds as they willing follow their government without contest for the duration of their meaningless lives. The government controls all forms of the media (thus denying the people the basic right of free speech) and use it to personify the government (known as ?big brother?) and make it seem omnipotent, or all knowing and always correct. Forecasts are changed from one week to the next always proving the government was correct. As was mentioned before, many of the rights that present day Americans take for granted, such as freedom of speech and the inalienable rights of individuals are withheld from the common citizen, the proles. George Orwell obviously meant to portray a negative utopia in the novel 1984.
Although the novel Brave New World is comparable to 1984 as both are views of a totalitarian government which attempts to provide its citizens with a utopian society, the differ drastically as Brave New World could be perceived as a positive utopia (in contrast to negative one in 1984). Although there are many drawbacks of this “future” society such as its lack of individuality and loving relationships, which include not only the love expressed within the confines of a family but also the loved shared between partners in a married couple. Humans were treated as laboratory experiments, “created using the Bokanovsky process?embryos are like photograph film, they can only stand red light.” On the other hand, though, the citizens had a much greater deal of freedom than what is allowed to those living in the 1984- society. The society is maintained not by force, but through a much simpler and more ingenious solution, the caste system. Every member of the caste system is truly happy with their lives; from the lower three castes whose lives consist of meaningless jobs like elevator operators to assembly line workers to the intellectual alpha’s who were the thinkers and consumers of the society. This is a much more peaceful way of maintaining the stability of the populace. Since every member of the society is truly content with their lives this is a positive utopia.
Fear, paranoia, loneliness, sexual desire and other emotions experienced by Winston Smith, the main character in 1984, are conveyed from the author to the reader through the tone in which the novel is written. Winston Smith is constantly afraid of the government which controls every aspect of his life and is always paranoid that he might accidentally say something in his sleep (in which case he would be detected by the screen which is in his apartment) or to another person (in which case he might be reported). The society in which Winston Smith lives is strictly against loving relationships, thus Mr. Smith is constantly lonely. Mr. Smith’s wife disappeared many years ago and though the society is against sexual relations (other than for procreation) Mr. Smith still desires to spend time with a woman.
Much like in 1984 the author of Brave New World uses tone to convey the emotions of the main characters, however they are (for the most part) much more pleasant than those of 1984. In Brave New World the reader experiences mindless happiness and fulfillment. In the beginning of the novel most of the characters are satisfied with their lives and are happy with their society, thus the tone is light-hearted and pleasant. Towards the end of the book, however the tone suddenly shifts. Confusion is expressed as John is transferred from his small, confined world on the reservation to what he perceives as an immoral society in the “brave new world.” Also, the reader experiences the excitement and fear created during the encounter between – among others – John, Bernard and Mustapha Mond.
Finally, in 1984 George Orwell urged the reader to not sit back quietly and allow a government of such qualities to form. Orwell shared with the reader a view of the future and the horrors that may be yet to come. Orwell used Winston Smith not only as a prediction of what life may be like in the future but also as a means in which to explore how the government would use propaganda and fear of the missile attacks to control the proles. Since Winston Smith ironically was, himself, a member of the very “Big Brother” government he gave his life to fight against.
In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley delivers unto the reader what appears to be a message of appreciation. Although the society Huxley created was not entirely bad, Huxley urges the reader to be appreciative of their families, loves, and individuality. In Brave New World everyone but the alpha’s and beta’s travel through a meaningless life filled only with work and rest. When one reads this novel they see the society as acceptable, myself included, but when one considers it one only contemplates living as an alpha or beta because the reader can not contemplate living without being able to formulate ideas and basically think. No one considers living as one of the lower castes and only working throughout life until death. Thus, the conclusion can be drawn that Huxley intended to portray an acceptable society on the surface with undesirable traits hidden deeper.
In conclusion, both of these novels portray and attractive life in a utopian society – in one can conform to the rules. However, when people cannot conform to the societies in which they dwell (as the main characters of both novels cannot) they are branded as subversives and punished as traitors. A life in 1984 would be almost too unbearable to live and in Brave New World unless one is willing to accept the caste system and live a life meant only to produce (as a lower caste) or consume (as a higher caste). Thus far this essay has compared, but mainly contrasted the great differences between the societies in these two novels, there is one great similarity however: be thankful for having been born into a freethinking society where a person can be truly free. Our present society may not be truly perfect, but as these two novels show, it does not get much better than this.